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The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments

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Many religious people embrace the idea of loving others as themselves but remain blissfully unaware of how the Bible defines love. As a result, they do not understand the necessity of putting into practice the biblical principles that determine the success or failure of their relationships.
Many religious people embrace the idea of loving others as themselves but remain blissfully unaware of how the Bible defines love. As a result, they do not understand the necessity of putting into practice the biblical principles that determine the success or failure of their relationships.

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Published by: United Church of God on Sep 14, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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02/24/2015

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came with a price—state control over all religious matters.
In A.D. 321 Constantine declared Sunday, long the day consecrated
in honor of the pagan sun god, to be the official day of rest in the Roman
Empire, making it the day of choice for church assemblies. But nowhere
in the Bible does either God the Father or Jesus Christ ever grant permis-
sion to change the time of the Sabbath from the seventh day to Sunday,
the first day of the week. The
first-century apostles did not
change it. Indeed, no human
being, institution or state has
ever had the right to tamper
with what God has set apart
as holy.

The Sabbath and a godly
relationship

The Sabbath, the day set
aside to remind us regularly
that our Creator is the only

true God, is vital to our relationship with Him. It shapes the way we per-
ceive and worship Him.
Therefore, He commands us to remember the
Sabbath by formally worshipping Him on that day.
Otherwise, we forfeit that special understanding of Him as the Creator
of the entire universe. After six days of setting in order this beautiful earth
and everything in it, our Creator ceased from molding the physical part
of His creation and rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-3). In observ-
ing the Sabbath we cease from our normal labor and activities to regularly
remind ourselves of this essential understanding.
The Sabbath is also a special day to concentrate on developing our
spiritual relationship with God. Although it is a day of rest from our nor-
mal routines and a time for rejuvenation, it is not a day to do nothing, as
some assume. On the contrary, the Sabbath is a special day on which we
dramatically change the focus of our activity. God intended that it be a
delightful period during which we busily draw closer to Him.
God said, through the pen of Isaiah: “If you turn away your foot from
the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sab-
bath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and shall honor Him,
not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking

your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; and I will
cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heri-
tage [the abundance of blessings] of Jacob your father. The mouth of the
LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 58:13-14).
Indeed, to “delight yourself in the LORD” is one of the key reasons we
should cease, for the 24 hours of the Sabbath, from the labor and normal
activities that consume our time the other six days of the week.
Relationships take time. Every successful association demands time.
No close relationship can succeed without it—no courtship, no marriage,
no friendship. Our relationship with God is no exception.
God wants us to take special time to worship Him, our Creator. That is
what the Sabbath—the seventh day of the week—provides.
The Hebrew word for Sabbath, shabbath, means “to cease, to pause or
take an intermission.” On the Sabbath we are to take the day off from our
regular activities and devote our time and attention to our Creator. Why?
Because in six days God set in order “the heavens and the earth, the sea,
and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD
blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:11). The Sabbath, in
a different way from any other commandment, keeps us in touch with how
real God is as our Creator.

A world without knowledge of the true God

Look at the world around us. The theory of evolution, based on the idea
that the world and everything in it developed from nothing, dominates the
thinking of the most highly educated. Most scholars scoff at the idea that the
creation requires a thoughtful, purposeful, almighty Creator. Even some schol-
ars who profess Christianity accept the evolutionary viewpoint. Observance
of the seventh-day Sabbath, however, keeps those who faithfully obey the Ten
Commandments in constant remembrance that their faith is founded on the
existence of an all-powerful Creator who is not limited by natural processes.
We read, “By faith [by believing what the Bible tells us] we understand
that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are
seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). That faith
is nothing less than an unshakable confidence that the Bible was inspired by
the Spirit of God and accurately reveals how the world, including humankind,
came into existence. (To learn more, request or download our free booklets
Is the Bible True? and Life’s Ultimate Question: Does God Exist?)
God reveals few details about how He created the universe—only that
He did create it. Observing the Sabbath brings that fact to the forefront of
our minds every week. God does not want us to lose this understanding.
He knows that everyone who neglects this knowledge loses sight of who
and what He is. That is how crucial this knowledge is.

Key to a Relationship With Our Creator

Scott Ashley

God commands us to remember the Sabbath by formally
worshipping Him on that day.

32

The Ten Commandments

33

Key to a Relationship With Our Creator

That is also why the weekly observance of the Sabbath is so important
to our relationship with our Maker. It keeps us in constant remembrance
that we worship the Creator of the universe.

A continuing creation

The Sabbath is not simply a reminder of a past creation. God finished
the physical part of His creation in six days. However, the spiritual part is
still under way. The Sabbath is the primary day for concentrated develop-
ment of our inner person in Christ. As the apostle Paul tells us, “There-
fore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed
away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The new spiritual creation is internal—in the heart and character of
each person. It begins when “you put off, concerning your former conduct,
the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and [are]
renewed in the spirit of your mind, and . . . put on the new man which [is]
created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians
4:22-24). This “new man . . . is renewed in knowledge according to the
image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:10).
Spiritual character cannot come solely by our own will. The “old man”
will inevitably succumb to the weaknesses and pulls of human nature.
Paul sums up this struggle: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh)
nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform
what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but
the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Romans 7:18-19).
God Himself develops holy and righteous spiritual character within us. He
reshapes our thinking and gives us the will and the power to resist our nature.
Paul confirms this, telling us that “it is God who is at work in you, enabling
you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, NRSV).

The day of renewal

Do you grasp how important this is? If we are in Christ, our Heavenly
Father is creating in us His own character, His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
The weekly time He has set perpetually apart to remind us that He is the
Creator is the same weekly period during which He, more than at other
times, instructs us as He molds us into His new creation.
God’s Word calls us “newborn babes” and says that we should “desire
the pure milk of the word, that [we] may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
The Sabbath is the time God has set aside for us to grow closer to Him
through study of His Word, personal prayer and group instruction. He has
sanctified it—set it apart—as holy time (Genesis 2:1-3). We should use it
to delight ourselves in Him by diligently seeking His help in our spiritual
development and growth (Isaiah 58:14).

The Sabbath is the day on which Christ’s disciples should fellowship
with and grow closer to each other. As Hebrews 10:24-25 states: “Let us
consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking
the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhort-
ing one another, and so much
the more as you see the Day
approaching.”
The Sabbath is the only
day on which God commands
a weekly assembly. “There
are six days when you may
work, but the seventh day is
a Sabbath of rest, a day of
sacred assembly. You are not
to do any work; wherever
you live, it is a Sabbath to the
LORD” (Leviticus 23:3, NIV).

The internal evidence of the New Testament shows that Christ’s
apostles and the rest of the first-century Church continued to assemble
on the seventh day, the Sabbath. They observed the day, however, with a
renewed emphasis on the “new” person God is in the process of creating.
The relationship of the seventh day to their lives grew in its importance
to them. The book of Hebrews confirms that decades after Christ’s death
and resurrection, His followers were to continue to keep the Sabbath,
affirming that “there remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God”
(Hebrews 4:9, NIV).
Yes, Jesus and His apostles consistently obeyed God’s command to
keep the Sabbath holy. They kept the seventh day as the Sabbath, just as
their fellow Jews of that time did. God’s commandment to us remains
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).
We desperately need to take time to grow close to our Creator. He tells
us how much special time we need to set aside for our relationship with
Him and when to take it. We have to decide whether we trust His judgment
and are willing to obey His Sabbath commandment.
(For a thorough explanation of the Sabbath, request or download our
free booklet Sunset to Sunset: God’s Sabbath Rest.)

The Sabbath is the only day on which God ever com-
mands a weekly assembly. “There are six days when
you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of
rest, a day of sacred assembly.”

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